With Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano on the mound and a sellout crowd of 7,604 in attendance, the Peoria Chiefs scored the only runs of the game in the eighth to defeat the Clinton LumberKings 3-0 Thursday night at O'Brien Field. The first-place Chiefs move to 32-20 in the second half and 70-51 overall.
Zambrano began the game retiring the first three batters he faced. In the second inning, he struck out the first batter of the inning and after a ground out, gave up his first hit of the night to Jake Shaffer before striking out Denny Almonte to end the inning.
Zambrano ran into his biggest threat of the night in the third with runners on second and third. Travis Howell began the inning with a single and Kyle Seager doubled with one away to advance Howell to third. Zambrano struck out the next two batters to end the threat and the inning. He threw a perfect fourth and allowed one base-runner in the fifth. With two down, Daniel Carroll singled and with Seager batting, stole second. Carroll advanced to third on a wild pitch but Zambrano struck out Seager to end the inning and his night. He left after 76 pitches to a standing ovation from the O'Brien Field sellout.
Archer relieved Zambrano in the sixth inning and retired the LumberKings in order with two ground outs and a strikeout. As the rain began to fall in the bottom of the inning, players were called off the field with the Chiefs leaving David Macias at third and Brett Jackson on second. After a 41 minute delay, Brian Moran came in and the Chiefs missed an opportunity to take the lead as they left the bases loaded.
The Chiefs scored the only runs of the game in the eighth off Moran. Macias led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a bunt-single by Jackson. Ryan Flaherty singled up the middle to plate Macias and advanced Jackson to second. Brandon Josselyn replaced Moran and gave up a single to Rebel Ridling to score Jackson and advance Flaherty to third. Kyler Burke grounded into a force out to plate Flaherty and give the Chiefs a 3-0 advantage heading into the ninth.
Closer Chris Huseby entered the game in the ninth inning. After getting Luis Nunez to ground out, he gave up a single to Ian Bladergroen who advanced to second on a wild pitch with two outs recorded. Nate Tenbrink ended the game, grounding out to second.
Zambrano threw five scoreless innings, giving up one four hits while striking out five. The major-leaguer did not issue a walk, throwing 54 strikes in 76 pitches. Archer's relief appearance did not last long after rain began to pour. The right-hander threw one scoreless inning with a strikeout. Manolin De Leon entered the game in the seventh and threw two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit while striking out two. Huseby earned his 17th save of the season, throwing a scoreless ninth while giving up one hit and striking out one.
Casey's General Store Player of the Game - Ryan Flaherty (2B) - Flaherty was 2-for-4 on the night including a double, an RBI and a run scored. He singled in the eighth to bring in the game-winning run, his 70th RBI of the season.
Notes... Ridling now has a nine-game hitting streak...Jackson had his ninth multi-hit game of the season...Flaherty had his 31st multi-hit game of the season...Thursday was the largest night crowd of the season, the second sellout and the second largest crowd overall...It was the second straight outing for Archer without a walk issued...Peoria hasn't trailed for 36 straight innings...Huseby is now third on the Chiefs single season list with 11 saves at O'Brien Field...The record is 13 shared by Matt Avery (2006) and Jared Blasdell (2002)...For the second time in a week, the Chiefs shutout their opponent with the last time coming on Sunday at Quad Cities with a 15-0 win...The Chiefs have won four-straight...The Chiefs continue their four-game series against Clinton on Friday 7:00 pm...The famous Birdzerk will be in attendance to entertain the crowd throughout the game...It is also Pajamas Night at O'Brien Field as part of FANonminal Friday...Peoria will send RH Alberto Cabrera (6-2, 4.84) to the mound opposed by LH Bobby LaFramboise (7-7, 3.78) for the LumberKings...The game can be heard starting with the pre-game show at 6:45 PM on 96.5 ESPN Radio and www.peoriachiefs.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.